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China removes party chief of virus epicentre province

China removes party chief of virus epicentre province”

China on Thursday reported 254 new deaths and a spike in virus cases of 15,152, after the hardest-hit province of Hubei applied a new classification system that broadens the scope of diagnoses for the outbreak, which has spread to more than 20 countries.

The coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, has spread to at least 26 countries. The total number of confirmed patients of the virus is now 48,206, an increase of 44%. The surge in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths has had important political consequences.

"The objective of the joint mission is that experts of both sides can have in-depth communication on the situation and efforts of prevention and control, and come up with advice for China and other affected countries", Geng said.

"This outbreak could still go in any direction", World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing in Geneva.

"It's the worst enemy you can imagine".

Reports in state-run media said provincial Communist Party boss Jiang Chaoliang had been sacked as secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee, and Ma Guoqiang had been removed as party chief in the provincial capital Wuhan.

According to Caixin, the number of confirmed cases in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus was first reported, rose by 13,426.

Last week, Hubei health authorities had indicated they would begin to recognize the results of CT scans to confirm infections, which would allow hospitals to isolate patients more quickly.

In the United Kingdom, a woman in London became the ninth person to test positive for coronavirus.

There was a happy ending for another cruise ship, the MS Westerdam, which docked in Cambodia after being denied docking rights in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Guam and the Philippines over fears one of its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew might have the virus, even though none had tested positive. No-one has been allowed onshore.

The epidemic has given China's ruling Communist Party one of its sternest tests in years, constrained the world's second largest economy and triggered a purge of provincial bureaucrats.

The biggest cluster of infections outside China is on a cruise ship quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama with 218 cases. Four people infected, three of whom are from Japan, are seriously ill.

There have been more than 500 infections in nearly 30 countries and territories outside mainland China, including two deaths.

The WHO has held a two-day meeting aimed at speeding up the development of tests, drugs and vaccines for the new virus, but experts have warned that treatments may be months away.



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